‘True heroes’: How Filipinos are paying tribute to frontliners on International Nurses Day

May 12, 2020 - 7:23 PM
Health workers in PPE
Health workers of St. Jude Family Hospital in Los Baños, Laguna receive on March 25, 2020 donated personal protective equipment from different business sectors in the province. (The STAR/Walter Bollozos)

Filipinos paid tribute to nurses who are on the frontlines of the battle against the novel coronavirus pandemic as the global community celebrates the International Nurses Day on May 12.

The commemoration also celebrates the birthday of Florence Nightingale, who is considered the world’s first “professional nurse.”

This year marks her 200th birth anniversary.

To honor this, the World Health Organization has declared 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse” to pay tribute to a huge sector of healthcare workers who are historically at the forefront of fighting epidemics and pandemics.

WHO noted that nurses are “often the first and sometimes the only health professional that people see” in hospitals and healthcare facilities whenever they are afflicted with medical conditions.

The organization also said that they account “for more than half of all the world’s health workers” who are vital in battling outbreaks and achieving universal health coverage.

In the Philippines alone, nurses account as the top healthcare workers who are infected with the coronavirus disease. Second are physicians and third comprise of nursing assistants.

As of May 12, the Department of Health reported that 2,076 healthcare workers have been infected by the deadly pathogen.

To honor the nurses currently on the frontlines of the pandemic, the Philippine General Hospital shared a video released by its staff nurse Christian-Roy Bangloy. It shows what a typical day of a medical frontliner looks like.

The state-run hospital also urged Filipinos to share the video so that others may appreciate the hard work that nurses and other healthcare workers demonstrate in taking care of the afflicted, especially amid the pandemic.


The Manila Cathedral also conducted a special Eucharistic celebration via live stream together with some nurses of St. Luke’s Medical Center, both from Quezon City and Taguig.

“Your eagerness for prayer amidst your tiring work inspires us more. May the Lord grant you protection and strength in your selfless service to our brothers and sisters in need,” the minor basilica noted in its social media pages.

FRONTLINERS IN PRAYERTo commemorate today International Nurses Day, Manila Cathedral rector Fr. Reginald Malicdem was…

Posted by The Manila Cathedral on Monday, May 11, 2020


A Twitter user shared a series of cards that honored nurses or as she calls them, the “true heroes.”

The cards were meant to pay tribute to nurses in the National Nurses Week, celebrated in the United States from May 6 to May 12.


Meanwhile, the WHO Philippines featured how a nurse of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) is helping other healthcare workers observe stringent measures to prevent the virus’ transmission.

“One of the challenges for nurses is that they face stigma, especially if they are seen in public wearing their white uniforms, coming from a hospital caring for people with COVID-19,” Paolo, a RITM infection control nurse, shared.

“I ask for the public’s understanding. Nurses like us that are caring for patients with COVID-19 are protected and we ensure that we are not infectious once we are out of the hospital,” he added.


WHO said that the International Nurses Day is also a reminder for countries to ensure nurses’ occupational safety and health as they battle the pandemic, which includes having “unhindered access to personal protective equipment.”

The organization also urged governments to ensure that their healthcare workers “have access to mental health support, timely pay, sick leave and insurance.”

“In this year of the Nurse and the Midwife, now more than ever, it is essential that governments support and invest in their nurses. COVID-19 reinforces the need for investment in nursing jobs, education, leadership,” the WHO said.